I had a wedding gift that needed to be gift wrapped. It was an awkward package that contained a wooden piece and glassware — all in  different shapes and sizes.  Two days ago, I went to a popular neighbourhood gift shop  to enquire if they would just wrap the gift.  The staff readily agreed. 

And so, I took the gift across today.  The ‘gift wrapper’ immediately recognized me and got the packing material out.  He explained how he would wrap the gift and asked if that was okay with me.  It was interesting to watch him work.  His actions were swift and fluent.  His manner was cheerful.  Without my prompting expensive paper was used.  There was no niggardly use of materials.  The focus was on ensuring no breakage. 

I asked the staff if he had been trained to wrap gifts or if it was something he learnt on the job.  He replied that he initially had two days of training.  He then added that the secret lay in knowing what size to cut the paper.  It was obvious he took pride in his work.

Many organizations promise excellence but deliver mediocrity.  What are the organizational and individual factors that foster excellence?  Is excellence, like integrity, an attitude before it can become an action?  How much of it involves a cheerful spirit?

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